Review copy was received from NetGalley. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
The Heart Principle by Helen Hoang
Published by Berkley on August 31, 2021
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Amazon, Audible, Audiobook, Barnes & Noble, Apple
When violinist Anna Sun accidentally achieves career success with a viral YouTube video, she finds herself incapacitated and burned out from her attempts to replicate that moment. And when her longtime boyfriend announces he wants an open relationship before making a final commitment, a hurt and angry Anna decides that if he wants an open relationship, then she does, too. Translation: She's going to embark on a string of one-night stands. The more unacceptable the men, the better.
That’s where tattooed, motorcycle-riding Quan Diep comes in. Their first attempt at a one-night stand fails, as does their second, and their third, because being with Quan is more than sex—he accepts Anna on an unconditional level that she has just started to understand herself. However, when tragedy strikes Anna’s family she takes on a role that she is ill-suited for, until the burden of expectations threatens to destroy her. Anna and Quan have to fight for their chance at love, but to do that, they also have to fight for themselves.
I have really enjoyed the books by this author in the Kiss Quotient series. I find I am emotionally absorbed with the character’s personal issues and growth. People are going through things and they may not be able to tell you or understand themselves why some things are so difficult.
Anna is a high functioning autistic. All her life, her sister and parents have pushed her and been angry with her if she has issues with things, for example, crowds or having her hair touched. So she masks all her feelings, and does and says what she thinks they want to hear. She also avoids them mostly, since acting is exhausting. I really hate how they treat her and make her feel, many times.
She has recently had a smashing success with a violin solo and somehow that makes it worse. No one in her family understands or tries to understand. She takes a leave from the Symphony and starts therapy. There she discovers she might be autistic and reads about it. She tries to tell her family about it but it doesn’t go well.
Her boyfriend of several years, decides he wants to experience more women and have an open relationship before he makes a commitment. So Anna decides to date other people also. Yeah, he’s totally a tool and I would punch him if I could.
She meets Quan Diep who runs the clothing business with his cousin, Michael, who we met in The Kiss Quotient. For the first time, Anna experiences someone who listens to her and cares enough to know the real person. I heart Quan from start to finish. He is so kind and caring. He really supports Anna in many ways as she grows and deals with some other changes in her life. He has some of his own issues but thankfully Michael and Stella have his back.
Anna and Quan are such a great couple and I was happy to see them together. I learned about them as they learned about each other. They may be a bit different than each other, but that gives them new things to learn and discuss, as they are curious about each other’s lives and hobbies. This author never seems to fail in her storytelling about people and their issues and growth in a realistic and inspiring way which fill the heart.
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